Are you planning on traveling to the Philippines? Keep reading for the ultimate Philippines itinerary – 3 weeks. The Philippines were one of my personal highlights while traveling. I spent 3 weeks there but could have stayed so much longer. There are 7641 islands in the Philippines, about 2000 of which are inhabited. Safe to say, you’ll always have more to explore.
In this blog post, I’m giving you the best route for your Philippines itinerary – 3 weeks. For each place, I’m recommending how long you should stay there. If you only stay the minimum amount of time, you can transform this into a Philippines itinerary – 2 weeks.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains some affiliate links to places I’ve stayed at during my time in Myanmar. If you book your stay through any of my links, I will earn a small commission. This comes with no extra cost for you. Be assured that I’ve only included accommodations I would stay at again!
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Palawan Itinerary – Philippines Itinerary 3 weeks
I suggest you start your time in the Philippines on this tourist-favorite island. You will probably have to fly here via Manila or Cebu.
Puerto Princesa – 0-1 nights
The two main airports on Palawan are Puerto Princesa International Airport and Busuanga Island’s Francisco B. Reyes Airport. You can fly into either one depending on if you want to travel Palawan from North to South or South to North. I decided to start my journey in Puerto Princesa.
Things to do in Puerto Princesa
The main thing to do in Puerto Princesa is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. If you want to do this, you should probably book in advance and spend a night in Puerto Princesa.
Where to stay in Puerto Princesa
Grande Vista Hotel – I wasn’t feeling well when I got to the Philippines, so I treated myself with a nice hotel room. They have their own restaurant with good food and friendly staff and even their own karaoke room.
Vegan in Puerto Princesa
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend Stellar Grounds and House of Siam.
Getting from Puerto Princesa to El Nido
Even though El Nido has its own airport, flying into there is really expensive. If you find a cheap flight or have the money, I’d suggest you fly directly into El Nido and skip Puerto Princesa. Otherwise, a five to six-hour drive in a van (without AC) will be your way to go. It is really easy to book your van to El Nido – you will most definitely be able to book through your accommodation in Puerto Princesa.
If you decide to go to El Nido straight after landing in Puerto Princesa, you will also be able to find a van at the airport. It’s also possible to already book a van through your accommodation in El Nido in advance. Depending on where you will be picked up, the van drive is around 500-800PHP.
Optional: Port Barton – 1-2 nights
I didn’t do this but on your way to El Nido, you can stop in Port Barton for one to two nights which I’ve heard a lot of travelers gush about. Things to do include island hopping tours, hiking to Pamuayan Falls and paddling through Sabang’s Underground River.
El Nido – 3-5 nights
El Nido stole my heart. Between amazing island hopping tours, incredible sunsets and great snorkeling spots – El Nido’s got it all. This place is most definitely worth spending a few days at.
Things to do in El Nido
Go to Las Cabanas Beach. You can even do a zip line there. However, just enjoying this beautiful beach was enough for me. Definitely stay until sunset for an additional wow-factor!
Do one of the island hopping tours. Now, this one is a must – you have the choice between tours A-D and even though the names might not sound like it, these tours are amazing! From what I’ve heard, tours A and C are the most popular ones. I did tour C and would absolutely recommend it. Read more about what to expect on my blog post on Lost WorldWide.
Head up to Nacpan Beach. A day trip is enough in my opinion (I preferred Las Cabanas Beach) but you can also stay there. A beautiful place to watch the sunset. You can go here from the center for 600PHP return. The last shuttle back to El Nido leaves after sunset, so you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Where to stay in El Nido
Novie’s Tourist Inn – This cute little place is not located in the center of El Nido but rather on the way to Las Cabanas Beach. It will take you around 25 minutes on foot or five minutes by tricycle to get to the beach. The accommodation is clean and the staff very friendly.
Where2Next Hostel – Located not far away from Nacpan Beach, this place is a really fun place to stay at. I loved the outside area and the bathrooms that were also located outside.
Vegan in El Nido
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend The Nesting Table at The Birdhouse, Boodle Fight and Paul’s Magic Vegan Veggie Snacks.
Getting from El Nido to Coron
There is a ferry from El Nido to Coron. You can find the ferry schedule here. I’ve heard that they often cancel their journeys though. Moreover, there is a much cooler way to get to Coron which is by a boat expedition. Read more on my experience with Buhay Isla here.
Buhay Isla Expedition – 2 nights
Check out my blog post on this amazing experience here. And let me tell you, you don’t want to miss this! I’m talking having the most beautiful islands completely to yourselves, sleeping in tents on the beach and finding the best spots for snorkeling.
Coron – 1-2 nights
I’ve heard people say that if you’ve been to El Nido, you don’t need to spend any time in Coron. I do partially agree; Coron doesn’t have a nice beach that’s close to the center/reachable without scooter or boat. So, you can take a flight out of there the day after arriving with Buhay Isla.
However, if you are into scuba diving it is definitely worth staying longer. There are a lot of shipwrecks to dive. Most of them are advanced but some are not (and you can take a course to get certified for shipwreck diving). In addition, there is even an intro course to diving. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about this until my last day in Coron. But there are some nice island hopping tours in Coron as well. I did the Ultimate Tour.
Things to do in Coron
Shipwreck Diving. On 24 September 1944, 24 Helldiver bombers burst out of the sky above Coron Bay in the Philippines, located the Japanese supply fleet hiding among the islands below, and proceeded to blow it apart. As a result, there are many well-preserved shipwrecks in Coron. I talked about the possibilities of diving them above.
Island Hopping Tour. The Ultimate Tour (1300 Pesos, 24 Euro) includes the CHC beach, the skeleton shipwreck, the Twin Lagoon, Kayangan Lake and Siete Pacitas.
Watch the sunset from the top of Mt Tapyas. This is the perfect viewpoint to see the sunset.
Where to stay in Coron
Hop Hostel is definitely THE place for backpackers to stay in Coron. However, they are booked out way in advance. A good alternative is Dayon Hostel where I stayed. It is very modern, affordable, and includes a nice breakfast on their rooftop terrace.
Vegan in Coron
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend Levine’s Eatery and ALA-E Hippie House.
Getting from Coron to Bohol
Take a flight directly to Bohol airport (you’ll probably have to fly via Manila) or take a flight to Cebu City. From there, take a grab car to the port and a ferry to Tagbilaran.
Cebu Bohol Itinerary – Philippines Itinerary 3 weeks
Cebu City – 0-1 nights
I’d advise you to skip Cebu City and rather spend more time on the other islands. But if you have to spend a night, here are some recommendations for things to do, where to stay and where to eat.
Things to do in Cebu City
Visit Fort San Pedro, the Basilica del Santo Niño and the street market on Colon Street.
Where to stay in Cebu City
HappyNest Hostel had just recently opened before I stayed with them. It’s a modern, affordable hostel close to the port and bus station so perfect for getting out of Cebu.
Vegan in Cebu City
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend Lun-Haw Vegan Cafe, Vegan Yum and Live Life.
Getting from Cebu City to Bohol
There are 3-4 daily ferries from Cebu City to Tagbilaran. You can buy a ticket at the port. Be there early enough because the check-in process can take some time. Travel time is around 1 ½ hours.
Bohol – 2-4 nights
The best way to go about exploring Bohol is by hiring a scooter. Prices are around 400 Pesos (a little over 7€) a day.
Things to do in Bohol
You can go up to the Chocolate Hills and visit the Tarsier Sanctuary, the man-made forest, and the Twin Hanging Bridge on either way.
When going to see Tarsiers, the little monkeys, please make sure to go to Tarsier Sanctuary instead of the Conservation Area. Tarsiers are very sensible animals that actually try to commit suicide when in captivity. The sanctuary does a great job at sheltering the Tarsiers. They only have five Tarsiers there but they are totally worth the 60 Pesos (1€). Since they don’t move during the day you are pretty much guaranteed to see all of them.
The Hinagdanan Cave is located on Panglao Island. For 55 Pesos (1€) you can go inside and for an additional 75 Pesos (1,35€) you can also go swimming there.
Relax at Alona Beach. This is quite a touristy place but it has my favorite cafe chain of the Philippines: Shaka.
Get a massage at Thai Royale Spa – one of the best massages I’ve ever had! Amazing service starting at 250 Pesos (4,50€) per hour. I did package 3 and it was so relaxing.
Where to stay in Bohol
Balili Oasis Heritage Lodge is a very familial place. I happened to be there during the owners’ son’s birthday and was able to join the celebration. They have great breakfast with vegan options as well.
Vegan in Bohol
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend Al Fresco, Shaka and Balili Oasis Heritage Lodge for vegan breakfast.
Getting from Bohol to Siquijor
There are two ferries going from Tagbilaran to Larena every day. We took the Oceanjet at 10:20 am. The ride takes a little over an hour and costs 750 Pesos (13,50€).
Siquijor – 2 nights
The best thing to do in Siquijor is again to hire a scooter. The island is beautiful to explore and just driving around is a lot of fun.
Things to do in Siquijor
Definitely stop by the Cambughayan Falls. Entry is free but you will get a guide to take you down to the falls where you can swim, jump, and swings. The swings are 50 Pesos (0,90€) each but you get to swing as many times as you’d like. You then pay your guide however much you feel like.
Visit a healer. Siquijor is famous for tales of shamans, witchcraft and black magic. You can visit one of three types of healers: herbal healers, faith healers and bolo-bolo (water-and-stone) healers.
There are some beautiful sunsets in Siquijor. Apparently, San Juan Beach is a great spot to watch the sunset.
Where to stay in Siquijor
I highly recommend staying at Go Guesthouse. Located not far away from Siquijor center this lovely homestay is the perfect place. Apart from their very nice owners, I really liked the art displayed in their house. You can also rent scooters with them for 350 Pesos (a little over 6€) a day.
Vegan in Siquijor
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend Bellview.
Getting from Siquijor to Moalboal
There are two ways to get from Siquijor to Moalboal. The more complicated but also more frequent one is via Dumaguete. For that way, you take the ferry to Dumaguete, take another ferry to Cebu and then go to Moalboal by bus.
The other option is to take the 5pm ferry from Larena to Santander. It is much slower than the Oceanjet ferries though, so expect a journey of almost three hours. It just costs 230 Pesos (4,20€) though. Once in Santander, you can get on a bus to Cebu City and get off at Moalboal for 77 Pesos (1,40€). We decided to spend one night in Santander though instead of doing the almost 2-hour drive at 8pm.
If you decide to do the same, I can’t recommend Neptune’s Diving Resort enough! They have some very nice rooms and the food (I had the vegetable curry) was the best I’ve had during my time in the Philippines. It was so freshly made that we saw the cook getting coconuts while we were waiting for our food.
Moalboal – 3-4 nights
I really liked Moalboal a lot, at least the area I stayed at, Panagsan Beach. It is a nice little town close to the water. I have an entire blog post dedicated to Moalboal, so I’ll only give you an overview here. Find more details here.
Things to do in Moalboal
Canyoneering at the Kawasan Falls is probably the most popular activity around that area (and deservedly so). There are multiple jumps up to 12 meters high, a swing, and a slide. If you book on a tour, it usually costs around 1500 Pesos (27€), including lunch but often excluding transport (250 Pesos one way from Moalboal). In my Moalboal guide, I tell you about a cheaper and more flexible way.
For probably one of the craziest snorkels of your life, head to Chili Bar in Moalboal. You can also hire snorkeling gear there (mask and snorkel for 100 Pesos, 1,80€). Swim around 30 meters out into the water (watch out for all the boats!) and with a little bit of luck, you’ll see some giant turtles. You’ll also most definitely see the sardine run Moalboal is famous for. Swimming amongst one million sardines? An amazing experience!
Go to White Beach (5 Pesos, 0,09€ Euro entrance fee).
Where to stay in Moalboal
I heard that Herb’s Guesthouse is amazing. It is located a little further south than Panagsan Beach.
I stayed at Pacita’s Beach Resort which is located just steps away from the part of the beach where you can swim out to see the sardine run and turtles. You can’t book with them online, you’ll have to call them up. I had no way to call them up and they didn’t respond to my messages on Facebook but I was lucky enough because they ended up having one free room left when I just rocked up there.
Smooth Hostel I didn’t actually stay here but I booked a night in case if they hadn’t had the room at Pacita’s Beach Resort and could cancel free of charge. They looked really good online though and I went to their cafe and had some amazing Falafel Sandwich.
Vegan in Moalboal
I have a whole blog post dedicated to being vegan in the Philippines, so check that out for more detail. Generally, I can recommend Shaka, Last Filling Station, Ven’z Kitchen, Smooth Cafe and The Pleasure Principle.
Getting from Moalboal to Cebu City
Just take a tricycle to the bus station in Moalboal. Buses to Cebu City depart from there every 20-30 minutes. You pay 107 Pesos (a little less than 2€) for your ticket to Cebu City.
From here, I left for Thailand but if I had had more time I definitely would have loved to check out Siargao or Boracay.
That’s it for your Philippines itinerary – 3 weeks. I hope you’ll enjoy your time in the Philippines. Definitely make sure to tag me if you try out any of these places to stay or things to do. And always feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
For more blog posts on the Philippines, check out my guide on being vegan in the Philippines, my Moalboal travel guide and my review of Buhay Isla.
If you are looking for some more itineraries, check out Ten days of traveling Bali, Must-See places around Tasmania and 3-week Myanmar itinerary.
Tip: If you’d like to follow along with my life after traveling, follow me on Instagram here.
Ahh, the Philippines is definitely on my travel bucket list!! I don’t think I have 3 weeks to be able to be on vacation, but will definitely try to stuff as much as I can into 2 weeks when I go! 😛 That’s awesome to know there are hostels there!
They are so worth a visit! 2 weeks will be enough for a lot of awesome snorkels, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets! 🙂
Fantastic post. Philippines is on our short bucket list … maybe next year. Thanks for the itinerary. We would likely do the 2-week one.
Definitely worth a trip! Glad this was helpful 🙂